We all know that we should cut down on the amount of fat we eat. But why? It all comes down to fact that diets high in total fat have been linked to many health problems such as obesity and various kinds of cancer. Blood cholesterol can also be raised with too much saturated fat and trans fat. High blood cholesterol is associated with a increased risk of heart disease. It is recommended , in order to maintain good heart health, that you limit saturated fat and trans fat to 7% of your total daily caloric intake. Changing a lifetime of eating habits won’t happen overnight. To make a change, it’s best to take it one step at a time.
Low-Fat Cooking Techniques
Always trim visible fat from meat before cooking and remove skin from chicken
Braise: this slow cooking method will tenderize meats, remove fat and add flavor. To braise means “to cook in liquid in a covered container.” Braising can be done on top of the stove or in a covered dish in a slow oven. When food is cooked, refrigerate, then remove all fat.
Roast, Bake, Broil: Place meat on a rack so the fat can drip off.
Low-Fat Grilling: use a cast iron skillet. Wipe the pan with an oiled paper towel. Treating your pan this way turns it into a “nonstick” pan.
- Fat-Free means less than 0.5 grams of fat per serving
- Trans Fat-Free means less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving
- Low-Fat means 3 grams or less of fat per serving
- Reduced Fat means 25% less fat than the regular product with 2 grams or less of saturated fat per serving
- Percent Fat-Free is based on product weight NOT on the percent of calories. This can be misleading. The product must be low-fat or fat-free.
Tips for Low-Fat Food Preparation
- When using ground beef in a recipe [chili, spaghetti sauce], cook the meat until well done in a covered pan on a low flame. Drain off all the fat.
- Use mustard as a sandwich spread in place of margarine or mayonnaise.
- In meat salads and slaws, use fat-free mayonnaise or salad dressing in place of mayonnaise.
- Flavor with a dash of garlic powder or a variety of other spices.
- Use margarine spread, fat-free margarine or jelly on your bread or toast.
- Instead of seasoning vegetables with a “pat” of butter or margarine, use a butter flavoring.
- Refrigerate soup stocks, broths, and stews, then remove the fat that hardens on top. Use broth to season vegetables and make gravies.
Low-Fat Baked Chicken Chimichangas
1-1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken breast
1-1/2 cups picante sauce, divided
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
2/3 cup chopped green onions, divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
6 flour tortillas (8 inches), warmed
1 tablespoon butter, melted
In a small bowl, combine the chicken, 3/4 cup picante sauce, cheese, 1/4 cup onions, cumin and oregano. Spoon 1/2 cup mixture down the center of each tortilla. Fold sides and ends over filling and roll up. Place seam side down in a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan coated with cooking spray. Brush with butter. Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until heated through. Top with remaining picante sauce and onions.
Yield: 6 servings. 1 chimichanga equals 269 calories, 8 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 39 mg cholesterol, 613 mg sodium, 31 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 17 g protein. Diabetic
Exchanges: 2 lean meat, 1-1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1/2 fat